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Carroll invited to Marlins 'spring' as non-roster player

Brent Carroll hopes good power and a great outfield arm are building blocks for a Major Leaguer roster spot with the Florida Marlins in 2007.

His appetite for “The Bigs” was wetted early this year when the minor league outfielder learned he’d been invited to Marlins’ Spring Training in Jupiter, Fla. as a non-roster player.

Saying Florida needs outfield help, “This year I’m actually going to spring training as an opportunity to compete for a [Major League} job,” said Carroll, former Bearden High School standout and All-American at Middle Tennessee State, adding “it’s very possible” he could make the Marlins’ roster.

“Center field is wide open. They consider me, mainly, a right fielder but I have had some center field experience.”

If not immediately able to make the Marlins’ roster, Carroll hopes to impress the Florida brass enough to “get a call-[up] sometime this season.”

Carroll, 24, remembers the Marlins’ farm director’s comment after he informed the ex-Bulldog star of his non-roster advancement.

“He said, ‘we’re very pleased at how you performed in Arizona,’” Carroll recalled. “They wanted to bring another outfielder to camp.”

After the 2006 minor league season, Carroll was sent to the Arizona Fall League where, he explained, “each organization sends two to three of their top prospects to compete. It’s six weeks long.”

Divided up into eight teams playing “fifteen to sixteen games,” Carroll said he “did well, I held my own, though a hand injury helped lead him into a “slump.” Nevertheless, Carroll batted around .285.

Marlins Spring Training began this week with 40 Major League roster players, plus a handful of non-roster players including Carroll. “There’s probably a total of eight to nine outfielders competing for jobs in camp,” he said.

Defense is perhaps Carroll’s strength. “I think they like my defense,” Carroll said. “My percentage of throwing guys out, I think, was successful.

“The Marlins voted me the ‘Best Outfield Arm’ in the organization [in 2006],” he added. “I was actually voted ‘Best Outfield Arm’ in the High-A Florida State League.”

Saying he runs a 4.9-second 40-yard dash, Carroll said “getting good jumps” on balls replaces a lack of blazing outfield speed.

Starting out the 2006 season with the Jupiter “High-A” team, where “I was hitting well,” Carroll soon was called up to the Marlins’ Class AA affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats, to fill in for a injured player.

Thought to be staying just a week, Carroll lasted the rest of the season. “I got called up halfway in that season,” he said. “I was doing well enough, I guess, to stay.”

Offensively, “I think I’ve shown them some power potential early, at this stage, that most guys get to at the end.”

Though hitting only .230 with Carolina, Carroll did smack nine home runs — 17 total in 2006.

“They say it takes fifteen hundred minor league at-bats to figure out what kind of hitter you’re going to be,” Carroll said, adding he’s roughly had “right at” 1,000.


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